Saturday 21 September 2019

Early morning CAB raids: Cars worth €400k, cash and Rolex watches seized

More than 50 gardai and CAB involved in major operation aimed at tackling Munster crime gang

CAB officers during search operation in Cork. Photo: Garda Facebook
CAB officers during search operation in Cork. Photo: Garda Facebook

Ralph Riegel

GARDAÍ and the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) seized vehicles, cash and Rolex watches in a series of raids targetting a feared organised crime gang in Cork.

The gang, based in Cork city, are comprised of members of an extended family and are suspected to have been involved in burglaries, theft, fraud, extortion, handling stolen property and recent attacks which have terrorised the elderly across Munster.

More than 50 Gardaí, Criminal Assets Bureau (CAG) officers and members of the Revenue Commission - supported by heavily armed Gardai - were involved in the raids which targetted a number of properties across the northside of Cork city and adjacent county areas.

Searches were also supported by specialist Garda dog units.

A total of eleven searches were conducted on seven residential properties, a large plot of land and three professional offices including both solicitors and accountants.

Following the searches, a total of 10 vehicles were seized to an estimated value of more than €400,000.

Some of the items seized. Photo: Garda Facebook
Some of the items seized. Photo: Garda Facebook

These included high-end Toyota 4x4s including LandCruisers and Hiluxs, a number of which were 2018 and 2019 registered.

One vehicle had UK registration plates.

Gardaí also found cash to the value of €31,500.

Four gold Rolex watches - believed to be worth almost €25,000 - were also seized.

One Garda source said that the primary focus of the raid was documentation and computer records.

In this regard, a large quantity of documentation was being examined as well as both computer and mobile phone devices.

The operation was planned for several weeks and was triggered by the escalating operation of the gang across Cork, Waterford, Tipperary and

Kerry.

Detective Chief Superintendent Pat Clavin said it was "a significant operation."

"This morning's search operation is a significant development in the CAB investigation and is viewed as a major disruption of the activities of this gang," he said.

A major element of the operation was intelligence-led and supported by surveillance of key properties and individuals.

Searches of specific properties began overnight and the operation continued throughout the day.

It is understood the gang are suspected to have been involved in burglary, theft, handling of stolen property and even extortion.

They are believed to be linked to a significant number of major thefts and burglaries across south Munster over recent years.

Most notoriously, the gang have been involved in scams to target the elderly.

"This organised crime gang use various paving, gardening and landscaping businesses to target the elderly and vulnerable people to deceive them of money," a garda spokesperson said.

"They use intimidation to instill fear into their victims and charge exorbitant rates for substandard work."

"They are also suspected of extorting large sums of cash from elderly and vulnerable people for unnecessary work."

The gang are also feared to have developed links to feared organised crime groups in Dublin.

While no arrests have been made, the operation represents a major escalation of the garda crackdown on organised crime in the south Munster area.

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